Site News wsj nestle love

Published on September 23rd, 2011 | by Jennifer Kaplan

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Are vitamin-fortified Kit Kat bars in our future?





How sweet it is to be loved by the Wall Street Journal. Nestlé is one company that knows the truth of this. I’ve been a vocal critic of their greenwashing positioning  themselves as sustainable leaders in the bottled water business. And, now as Rich Bindell, points out in Food & Water Watch:

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and Nestlé have a serious romance going on. The WSJ has taken to regularly interviewing Nestlé executives about food and water issues and granting Nestlé the opportunity to opine about solving world problems in a way that enhances their bottom line. Whether its Chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe or CEO Paul Bulcke, who better to offer solutions to world hunger and water shortages than the chairman and CEO of the second largest international processed food company with posh headquarters in Switzerland?

Apparently, Nestlé executives have offered their opinions in big WSJ articles or op-eds three times in less than one year. The articles in question are:

  1. WSJ’s Brian M. Carney devoted a Weekend Interview spot to  Brabeck-Letmathe, where the Nestlé executive answered the softball question, “Can the world still feed itself?” According to Brabeck-Letmathe, the answer is yes, but only if we embrace the ideas of (and offer full financial support to) genetic engineering and charging market prices for water.
  2. For World Water Day last March, the WSJ gave Brabeck-Letmathe the opportunity to write about the best way of supplying water to world’s poor. His answer: “Pay the true price of water” and provide government subsidies to the poor to buy that water.
  3. An article where CEO Bulcke got to wax eloquent about “looking to science to make healthier profits” and the company’s drive to improve the nutritional value of its products. Are vitamin-fortified Kit Kat bars in our future?

Genetic engineering? Governments subsidies for water? Pharmaceutical intervention?  Bindell brings to light a disturbing affinity that the WSJ has for Nestlé. This all sounds more like corporate strategy that though leadership.  Why doesn’t the WSJ make the distinction?  Maybe if consumers demanded it, they might. Probably not, but its worth a little uproar.

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About the Author

Jennifer Kaplan writes regularly about sustainable food and wine, the intersection of food and marketing and food politics for EatDrinkBetter.com and is the author of Greening Your Small Business (November 2009, Penguin Group (USA)). She was been named one of The 16 Women You Must Follow on Twitter for Green Business. She has four kids, a dog, a hamster and an MBA - find her on .



  • http://justinvankleeck.blogspot.com Justin Van Kleeck

    Wow, this is scary. Though it is not surprising from the WSJ. The very idea that Nestle is interested in solving the world’s resource problems is offensive. Instead of writing in a financial newspaper, catering to investors and capital fiends, why not try taking that message to the people most in question: the worldwide poor, whose resources are being syphoned off feed the gluttonous Western world? I bet that would go over well.

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